AnalysisJuly 10, 2015

A Spinoff Investigation: What Does a Kiwi Living Gift Bag Say About the Lifestyle Show?


TV One’s new lifestyle show Kiwi Living begins at 7.30pm tonight, an “all-encompassing lifestyle show covering food, travel, gardening, living spaces, health and well-being, fashion and the outdoors”. It will be hosted by celebrity chef and caravan enthusiast Michael Van de Elzen and 20/20‘s Miriama Kamo, featuring many other specialist presenters. Fine. Those are words. But what actually is it? How is it all-encompassing? How will it not be an informercial? How quickly will Suzanne Paul slide in on a Roomba?

We found some clues to the show’s content in an illustrious Kiwi Living cloth bag that turned up on our doorstep today. We get sent bags of tat by the TV channels all the time, and we bloody love it. But no bag has ever been quite so full of quite so much weird stuff as Kiwi Living‘s. Rather than read the booklet to get info about the show, we used the scientific research tool of “school yard picking” to divide the evidence between ourselves, and then tried to dissect it to figure out exactly what we’ll be watching tonight.

Round One

Alex picked: Ecostore Peppermint Lip Balm and Extra Moisturising Hand Cream. Tagline: ‘No nasty chemicals’
It’s the middle of winter and my skin is drier than the ashes of a corn husk doll. The only moisturiser that I own contains self-tanner which, when used on the problem areas of my pale silver skin, can only result in offensive, borderline-blackface hands, knees and elbows. I need serious help, thank god Kiwi Living heard my raspy dehydrated prayers.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
There will be some sort of fancy beauty segment, with a heavy emphasis on moisturising using GE free, cruelty free, chemical free products extracted from the joyful tears of consenting angels. There’s going to be a lot of beeswax and lanolin talk floating around.

Duncan picked: Seasol: The Seaweed Solution. Tagline: ‘Complete Garden Health Treatment’
Seasol. Didn’t even really look at it – a panic pick. But also a shame pick. Because I’ve been trying to grow an “urban garden” for about four years now. It goes great in summer, but rubbish in winter. Really bums me out. Maybe Seasol is the solution? Also, it was the tallest thing on the table, and I’ve long equated size with value. It makes 225 litres of seaweed juice – I could have big smelly baths in it if I wanted to!

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
There was a lot of garden tat in the bag, so I’m guessing we’re getting primetime garden advice for the first time since… Ages ago. Probably the ’70s. But every city dork like me wakes up hungover one day and decides that they need to buy some soil and seedlings and grow their own deformed vegetables. Maybe it’ll work?

Round Two

Alex picked: Southern Cross Hospital Mini First Aid Kit
I have a blister on my foot right now and many cat scratches that need tending to. Plus, with a small first aid kit on me at all times I will become essentially invincible. Maybe I’ll go skydiving? Maybe I’ll start parkour? This kit is going to change my whole outlook on life, I can just feel it.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
A health and safety section is obvious. It’s called Kiwi Living, not Kiwi Dying. I expect a step-by-step guide to treating the most life-threatening of injuries with only a bow shaped plaster, a circle-shaped plaster, and a small alcohol wipe. Presented by Erin Simpson, probably.

Duncan Picked: Guthrie Bowron $25 Gift Voucher. Tagline: ‘Decorating Specialists’
Alex had picked both low value Eco-Store items. Good on her for wanting to save the world with skin cream, but I was just on a value rampage. $25 at Guthrie Bowron was probably the best prize on the table. Another win for the big D.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
Post-The Block and the unaccountably successful (and now renewed) Our First Home, we’ve proven our appetite for watching paint dry is insatiable. Kiwi Living‘s relationship with Guthrie Bowron looks intense – there was also a brush and a stirrer thing – so we’re guessing that there will be more reno tips than you can shake a sheet of gib at.

Round Three

Alex picked: Kiwi Living Luggage Tag
The perfect free gift. If I bought one of these for myself, I would have move straight into the middle of the Kalahari desert and never speak to another soul for fear of the news getting out. A bag tag is annoying and useful, and my current one is a bedazzled number from a secret santa that leaves a trail of gems everywhere I go. It sounds magical, but it’s time to move on. There’s only one thing I want to take to the world now: and that’s Kiwi Living.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
There could be some studio-based travel section that will be 80% showing you how to hoover your clothes in glad wrap sacks to make them look like shrink-wrapped beef jerky. The other 20% will be ankle-rolling plane exercises.

Duncan Picked: Novatec Premium Fertiliser. Tagline: ‘Nitrogen Stabilising Technology’
This was my biggest screwup of the whole event. Alex had thrice left these on the table – clearly, her thumbs aren’t any shade of green. I could’ve easily let this fancy sustainable fertiliser wait until the fifth round. But I choked, thinking again of my stubbornly barren planters, and took this prettily packaged who-knows-what.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
It’s more garden soil herbs, isn’t it? I think we’re going to get told that to make stuff grow out of the ground you can’t just plant it and wander away for a few months. You’ve got to put chemicals and expensive nutrients in there. I am seriously concerned about how that’ll rate – surely no one wants to watch that? Or maybe it’s what we’ve all been missing and will rate up a storm? If so Seven Sharp will be called ‘Outdoors with Mike’ within weeks, and will feature Hosking wandering around in gumboots talking about how self-sufficient potatoes are.

Round Four

Alex picked: Southern Cross spray hand sanitizer. Tagline: “Made in China for TRENDS COLLECTION”
I picked this because germs are rife, and also I blacked out and thought it was perfume.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
A health section featuring Miriama Kamo fighting a giant, life-sized germ (played by a Unitec undergrad in a morph suit) to the actual death. Erin Simpson on standby with selection of plasters.

Duncan picked: Small Dulux Pottle of Large Jelly Beans
This is how drafting always goes for me. I come in thinking I’m some kind of shark, and going to find value in every round. Then suddenly I’m holding a pottle of jellybeans, wondering where it all went wrong. I think I was hungry. The worst thing is, I don’t even like jellybeans. They’re gross.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
More paint merch. So far two garden, two paint. I think this show’s just going to be gardening and decorating, endlessly cycling, refusing to rest until we’ve painted our whole gardens and turned our houses into jungles.

Round Five

Alex picked: A Kiwi Living tape measure 
I don’t have a tape measure of my own. The only other tool I have is a floral “women’s hammer” that my Mum won in a raffle. A tape measure is useful for dragging papers closer to you across your desk and scratching your foot without moving the rest of your body. Perhaps one day – when I’m measuring the door to my first family home to see if my chaise longue will fit – I will kiss my husband, hug my cherubic children, pat the dog, beam to the heavens and whisper “Thanks Kiwi Living, thank you, for everything.” But for now, real focussed on the itchy foot.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
It’s going to be DIY and measuring up the wazoo. Measure everything. Measure the distance from The Food Truck to the nearest McDonald’s. Measure Michael Van de Elzen’s smile. Measure your new Kiwi Living seedlings. Measure the world.

Duncan picked: Blue Coconut Coconut Oil. Tagline: ‘Ridiculously Versatile’
At this point I was back to basics – just seeking late round value, trying to salvage something out of this horrible draft. And you know what? I think I found it. This was the biggest thing on the table, by volume. And whenever a new fad oil comes onto the market they charge stupid money for it. Plus it’s a ‘coconut’ thing! Trendy as hell. Great pick.

What might it mean for Kiwi Living?
Hang on – is this just going to be like The Shopping Channel, but in primetime? Or like Brand Power, but helping you buy better products over half a bloody hour? Oh God.


Kiwi Living begins at 7.30pm tonight on TV One

Keep going!